A new “expressway” from the old road – the first such road fragment in Poland

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Budimex is a company that cares about the natural environment and the efficient use of natural resources. For many years, it has been investing in and involved in reducing the carbon footprint during construction works. One of the activities that supports the circular economy is the reuse of reclaimed asphalt in the production of mineral and asphalt mixtures.

During the implementation of the S3 expressway project in the West Pomeranian Voivodeship, the first section of an expressway in Poland was built, where 15% of asphalt granules were added to the surface course, i.e. the wearing course. – As part of the construction of the S3 Miękowo – Rzęśnica junction part 2, we made a section of 400 m from SMA mixture with a 15% share of asphalt granules in cold technology. The implementation of the section was preceded by a thorough technical analysis, arrangements with the Ordering Party and the Engineer – says Ewelina Karp Kręglicka, Director of the Purchasing, Quality and Environment Office of Budimex S.A.

The West Pomeranian branch of GDDKiA also played an important role in the construction of this section, which, after a thorough analysis of technological issues together with the Contract Engineer, made it possible to construct a section of the road in this technology.

As the director of the laboratory complex, Łukasz Bargenda, says – Budimex has extensive  experience in the use of reclaimed asphalt in mineral and asphalt mixtures. We are constantly working to ensure that the mixtures we design are the best in terms of quality and usability. In this case, the laying of the SMA wearing course with the granulate was preceded by analyses of sources of high-quality reclaimed asphalt, testing of component materials and design of a prescription by Budimex laboratories, in which reclaimed asphalt selectively collected from another section of the S3 expressway was finally used. Maciej Nic, director of the laboratory complex, adds – an interesting fact is that the milled section of this road was also made by Budimex a few years ago.

Tests of the mineral and asphalt mixture carried out in the Budimex laboratory and by the GDDKiA laboratory confirmed the correct parameters of the built-in layer.

The construction of this section is a continuation of works with the use of reclaimed asphalt. One of the earlier was the InnGa research project, where increased amounts of granulate were used in mineral and asphalt mixtures than currently permitted by technical documents. The program was successful and shows that the use of good quality granules, even with an increased amount, gives positive results.

Budimex is a leader in the implementation of road surfaces with the use of asphalt granulate, which supports zero waste activities on construction sites. – ​ We can be proud of the construction of many road sections where this pro-ecological solution has been successfully applied. Employees of Budimex’s laboratories and Equipment Services Division are strongly committed to the reuse of reclaimed asphalt in mineral and asphalt mixtures. We are looking for the most beneficial technological and legal solutions for the company and the environment, enabling the wide use of this secondary material. It should be remembered that in accordance with the Waste Act, reclaimed asphalt is classified as waste and according to the applicable WT-2 technical requirements, it is not possible to use it in the wearing course. – adds  Ewelina Karp Kręglicka.

Marcin Hauke, director of the Budimex asphalt mixing plant team responsible for the production of mineral and asphalt mixtures, says: – Budimex aims to construct bituminous surfaces based on the highest possible quality standards, taking into account the aspect of protection of natural resources and broadly understood environmental protection throughout the construction process. Our experience in this area allows us to successfully implement the most technologically complex projects, thus setting the direction for the entire industry in Poland.  Unfortunately, Polish legislation is still a problem, as it treats recovered asphalt reclaimed asphalt as waste. We hope that with the entry into force of the regulation, which will allow reclaimed waste to lose its status, the possibilities of using this material in road construction will increase.

As Maciej Nic, director of the Budimex laboratory complex, adds – Currently, the road is monitored for quality and performance parameters such as evenness, macrotexture and lateral evenness. The results so far show that the completed road section meets the highest standards set for the wearing course. We hope that our positive experience will allow for the increasingly bold and wider use of such pro-ecological solutions on Polish roads.

In the future, Budimex plans to make asphalt surfaces with the maximum use of recycled materials, in all layers, and  further scientific and research projects, setting a new standard on category A and S roads.